Lan Su Chinese Garden here in Portland, OR is offering free admission in celebration of the new year. Granted, three of those eight days are over (the invitation is valid January 2-9), but you still have five to scoot down to Chinatown and enjoy the winter phase of the Chinese wonderland.
The guide they give you at the entrance, shown above, is beautifully designed and executed, but is only a hint of what's inside the garden walls. I thought of posting photos of the interior, but decided against it because A) I'd rather not spoil it for you and B) they'd really not do it justice. Below is a map to give you and idea of the layout (it takes up an full city block), but that's all you're getting.
This afternoon, after a full morning of bustling work, I met a friend at the Lan Su Chinese Garden Tea House for a cup of tea. (Who else but Becki from Shopping's My Cardio? It was her idea, and a brilliant one as per usual.) It was the most enjoyable, relaxing experience I've had in a long time. And yes, we did just come back from the holiday, but when you're self employed, holidays are always...interesting (in other words, the opposite of relaxing). If you go, be sure to study the pond for koi. They hibernate during the winter season (Brrrr...I wish I could, too!) and that means they're so still that they look frozen in time. Think of the work of the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia. On that note, venture out to take advantage of this special time at Lan Su Chinese Gardens, but watch out for the bitter cold. A cute hat and mittens should do the trick.